Sir Humphrey Appleby: The Queen is inseparable from the Church of England.
Jim Hacker: And what about God?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: I think he is what is called an optional extra.

Yes Prime Minister The Bishop’s Gambit 1986

You know after being being Burned By Barack Obama you would think Notre Dame would be a little more careful about who they honor around there.

You’d think wrong.

The University of Notre Dame will honor Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner by giving them its top award, the Laetare Medal, during commencement ceremonies.

The university says it is recognizing the Democrat and Republican for their leadership, civility and dedication to the nation.

The Rev. John Jenkins, the university president, says with public confidence in government at historic lows, it is “a good time to remind ourselves what lives dedicated to genuine public service in politics look like.”

Believe it or not this is actually worse than inviting yesterday’s story about inviting Wendy Davis to speak at Notre Dame.  At least Davis was invited by a specific department.  The Laetare Medal is a school wide honor endorsed by the University Proper.

I’m pleased to say that not everyone is taking this lying down

A contingent of 89 students published a letter in the University of Notre Dame’s student newspaper today in protest to the University’s announcement on March 5 that abortion and same-sex marriage advocate Vice President Joe Biden will be honored with “the oldest and most prestigious honor accorded to American Catholics.”

“As students of this University, some of whom will graduate in May, we are disappointed Notre Dame has failed in this instance to live up to its Catholic mission,” the students stated. “We deserve to see the Laetare Medal given to an American Catholic who merits it by having served as an outstanding example for Catholics and having performed real service to the Church in this country.”

not  Bishop Rhodes:

I know that this honor is also an attempt to recognize two Catholics from different political parties at a time when our national politics is often mired in acrimonious partisanship. I appreciate Notre Dame’s efforts to encourage civility, dialogue, mutual respect and cooperation in political life.

While I understand Notre Dame’s intentions in conferring the Laetare Medal upon Vice-President Biden and Speaker Boehner, I disagree with the decision. In dialogue with Father Jenkins about this matter some months ago, I shared with him my concerns with honoring the Vice-President. I believe it is wrong for Notre Dame to honor any “pro-choice” public official with the Laetare Medal, even if he/she has other positive accomplishments in public service, since direct abortion is gravely contrary to the natural law and violates a very fundamental principle of Catholic moral and social teaching: the inalienable right to life of every innocent human being from the moment of conception. I also question the propriety of honoring a public official who was a major spokesman for the redefinition of marriage. The Church has continually urged public officials, especially Catholics, of the grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that supports or facilitates abortion or that undermines the authentic meaning of marriage. I disagree with awarding someone for ‘outstanding service to the Church and society’ who has not been faithful to this obligation.

I realize that Notre Dame is trying to separate or distinguish the conferral of the Laetare Medal upon the recipients from their positions on public policies. I do not think this is realistically possible or intellectually coherent.

some faculty:

“Saying that Mr. Biden rejects Church teaching could make it sound like he is merely disobeying the rules of his religious group. But the Church’s teaching about the sanctity of life is true. And so the Vice-President rejects the truth that human life begins at conception,” the faculty stated. “He rejects the truth that every human life deserves protection, from conception until natural death.He rejects the truth that public officials like him have an especially grave duty to preserve the least of our brothers and sisters from harm.”

and of course the Cardinal Newman society

For faithful Catholics, “compromise” is precisely the concern here. Catholic Biden has compromised his fidelity to Church teaching on intrinsic evils far too many times in his career in the interest of political compromise. He has publicly supported Roe v. Wade and legal abortion, legal redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples, taxpayer funding for embryonic stem cell research, and the HHS contraception/sterilization/abortifacient mandate. Is this really the sort of “responsible compromise” Notre Dame seeks to applaud?

Notre Dame also compromises its Catholic identity in honoring Biden for the purpose of making a political statement, and, as with the honor to President Obama, with the goal of gaining secular prestige.

Let’s go back to St. John Paul II and Ex Corde Ecclesiae again:

By its very nature, each Catholic University makes an important contribution to the Church’s work of evangelization. It is a living institutional witness to Christ and his message, so vitally important in cultures marked by secularism, or where Christ and his message are still virtually unknown. Moreover, all the basic academic activities of a Catholic University are connected with and in harmony with the evangelizing mission of the Church: research carried out in the light of the Christian message which puts new human discoveries at the service of individuals and society; education offered in a faith-context that forms men and women capable of rational and critical judgment and conscious of the transcendent dignity of the human person; professional training that incorporates ethical values and a sense of service to individuals and to society; the dialogue with culture that makes the faith better understood, and the theological research that translates the faith into contemporary language. “Precisely because it is more and more conscious of its salvific mission in this world, the Church wants to have these centres closely connected with it; it wants to have them present and operative in spreading the authentic message of Christ”

Frankly I think Fr. Jenkins and his ilk should take these words from Susan Fox to heart:

If you have forgotten, let a parent who has survived the Current War on our children remind you — we have an enemy. He’s smarter than us. He’s not here to play around, he’s not here to entertain, he’s not here to have fun. He’s here to kill.

The adults in charge of many of our Catholic schools and colleges seem to have forgotten this. They have, in the name of “tolerance,” accepted things that have his fingerprints all over them. They have allowed these things into their students’ lives, inviting “pro-choice” speakers, “Vagina Monologues,” “Gay” activists and now the latest — “transgender” representatives — onto their campuses and into their student’s lives. And then they scratch their heads at the pain, the suffering and the death that results from things that reek of the enemy. (Yes, perhaps your students will hear these things elsewhere, but they won’t have the Church’s stamp of approval on them in those other places, will they?)


You know that map of faithful catholic colleges from the Cardinal Newman society is looking better and better.

The third in my series noting the weakness of Donald Trump’s Sour Grapes arguments concerning Delegates.

In baseball there are many different ways to build a team. You can build one based on a park (Think of Fenway Park’s wall) you can build one based on player combinations, for example the Phillies of the 50’s had the ultimate fly ball pitcher, Robin Roberts with Richie Ashburn an outfielder with incredible range. The result was an awful lot of outs.

You can go with pitching, you can go with speed, you can go with defense, you can go with power, you can play the big bullpen but in the end every choice comes with a tradeoff.

The speed team may not have that big bat they need at the time they need it, the power team might not be able to advance that runner, the great hitting team might now have the men who can get to that grounder to protect the lead and the defensive specialists might not have to bat to get that extra run, the great bullpen might not have the starters to get to the seventh or the strong starting lineup might not have the horse to get those last three outs to wrap it up.

The presidential campaign has run the same way. The various candidates all had different plans to get to the finish line and each one had their trade offs from Chris Christe’s New Hampshire or bust to Jeb Bush’s superpac plan.

Donald Trump’s plan was unique, bypass the traditional party structure, the face to face campaigning and use his national celebrity to run a national campaign on a couple of big issues (immigration and the war on terror) and bypass the state parties altogether.

Regardless of any critique of Trump’s it is inarguable that this plan has been on the whole widely successful. Trump has won the most states, the most delegates and has outlasted 14 of his 16 opponents. Only Ted Cruz has come close winning 8 states but that pales to Trump’s 19. Trump has done a good job and no amount of saying otherwise makes it any less true

However like a baseball team with no speed Trump’s plan has drawbacks.

It’s looking very much like the Establishment GOP is doing it’s best on the state level to get delegates who are less likely to support Donald Trump once they are released, it’s also looking like Ted Cruz is doing his best to use his grassroot strength to get delegates favorable to him selected.

Donald Trump and his people are crying foul, but all this complaining ignores one thing, Trump choose to be in this situation.

You’ll remember during the lead-up to the Massachusetts primary Governor Baker ran his own slate for the GOP state committee, opposing tea party activists. A lot of us didn’t like it but he was within his rights to do so.

That type of process or a variation of it takes place in every single state in the union.

There was nothing stopping Donald Trump from getting involved in these races, in fact building up representation in the state parties might have been a rather wise use of his large stash of personal funds.

Trump decided not to do this. He kept his focus on the national campaign keeping his focus on the public at large rather than the party and for the most part, as I’ve said, it’s been successful.

Now if he manages to win the nomination outright that will the wisdom of the plan but is he ends up shy at the end of the primary season Trump will find his situation like a power hitting team having needing to get a runner to 2nd and having no speedster on the bench or anyone who can bunt available.

It won’t be because he is being cheated, it’s because he built his team a particular way and the game is tilting in a direction that doesn’t fit.

That’s not unfair, that’s just life.


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